France seeks extradition of businessman in illegal financing of Sarkozy campaign investigation

French businessman Alexandre Djourhi is currently on bail in the UK, where he was arrested on a European Arrest Warrant issued by France in December, and awaiting his extradition hearing on 17 April. Mr Djourhi is wanted by French police for questioning as part of an inquiry into the alleged illegal financing of former president Nicolas Sarkozy’s first presidential bid in 2007.

French authorities have been investigating suggestions that Libya’s former President Muammar Gaddafi and his family helped to finance Sarkozy’s 2007 campaign, including through the purchase of a villa in south-east France for several times its market value. The property, said to have been owned by Djourhi, was bought for €10m by Libyan sovereign wealth fund the Libya Africa Investment Portfolio, and French authorities want to determine whether the money was ultimately transferred to Sarkozy’s campaign.